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Applesauce adds goodness, cuts fat

Recipe: Healthy muffins are less messy, too

Muffin pan with muffins in green, yellow, blue cups
Applesauce muffins, fresh from the oven, make a healthy snack or breakfast bread. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Muffins were made for breakfast on the go. They're just as perfect for afternoon snacking. Why? Those carbohydrates offer a quick energy boost.

This recipe substitutes applesauce for milk and most of the oil, cutting down on fat while adding more good-for-you nutrients.

These easy muffins have a baking powder biscuit-like texture and smell delicious while baking. When cut, they don't fall apart into a bunch of crumbs, making these muffins less messy, too.

3 muffins on a yellow plate
They look yummy and smell delicious.
Applesauce muffins

Makes 12 large muffins


2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup raisins
2 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Demerara sugar (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a 12-cup muffin tin. Lightly grease cups or use silicon cup liners.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Stir in raisins.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Blend in brown sugar. Add applesauce, then cooking oil and vanilla.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients. With a wooden spoon, stir until just blended. Don't overwork batter.

Spoon batter into prepared cups of muffin tin. For large muffins, fill cups about 3/4 full. If desired, sprinkle Demerara sugar or additional brown sugar on top of each muffin.

Split muffins on yellow plate
The muffins feature raisins, but dried cranberries or
currants work just as well.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown; a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool a few minutes before removing from tin. Best served warm.


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Nov. 26:

Concentrate on helping your garden stay comfortable during these frosty nights – and clean up all those leaves!

* Irrigate frost-tender plants such as citrus in the late afternoon. That extra soil moisture increases temperatures around the plant a few degrees, just enough to prevent frost damage. The exception are succulents; too much water before frost can cause them to freeze.

* Cover sensitive plants before the sun goes down. Use cloth sheets or frost cloths, not plastic sheeting, to hold in warmth. Make sure to remove covers in the morning.

* Use fall leaves as mulch around shrubs and vegetables. Mulch acts as a blanket and keeps roots warmer.

* Stop dead-heading; let rose hips form on bushes to prompt dormancy.

* Prune non-flowering trees and shrubs.

* Clean and sharpen garden tools before storing for the winter.

* Brighten the holidays with winter bloomers such as poinsettias, amaryllis, calendulas, Iceland poppies, pansies and primroses.

* Keep poinsettias in a sunny, warm location – and definitely indoors overnight. Water thoroughly. After the holidays, feed your plants monthly so they’ll bloom again next December.

* Rake and remove dead leaves and stems from dormant perennials.

* Plant spring bulbs. Don’t forget the tulips chilling in the refrigerator. Daffodils can be planted without pre-chilling.

* This is also a good time to seed wildflowers and plant such spring bloomers as sweet peas, sweet alyssum and bachelor buttons.

* Plant trees and shrubs. They’ll benefit from fall and winter rains while establishing their roots.

* Set out cool-weather annuals such as pansies and snapdragons.

* Lettuce, cabbage and broccoli also can be planted now.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Bare-root season begins now. Plant bare-root berries, kiwifruit, grapes, artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb.

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